Balét Foclórico da Bahia
Balét Foclórico da Bahia is unlike anything you will ever see. Do not let the word
balét fool you. This show is a prime example of the African culture in Brazil. People
do things with their bodies that I did not know the human body could do. If you’re
into unbelievable African music, amazing gymnastics with a hint of dance and people
who swallow fire, then Balét Foclórico da Bahia is the place for you!
Everyone in our group was very pessimistic when hearing that we were going to a
ballet. By the end of the night we were all very pleased that we had gone. The ballet
took place in a very small theater in the Pelourinho.
There were two women sitting next to me, one from France and the
other from England; both had come to Salvador to learn capoeira. The capoeira style
of martial arts was evident in the balet. The entire performance was very acrobatic
and the characters consisted of different African gods or Orixás. One part that
truly seemed surreal was a dance that was done with fire. A man came out holding
two pots with fire and he had an enormous flaming pot on his head. For the first
portion of his dance he did it entirely while balancing the fire pit on his head.
After that he took it down from his head and began running the flames all over his
body. He jumped into the fire pit and when a hot ember fell out he simply picked
it off the ground and ate it.
This ballet was not a typical ballet that you would see in the States. It consisted
of live music and dancing that was unique to Salvador. But dancing and music were
not the only entertainment in this ballet. They also had a magician who stole the
show by playing with fire. Among many other tricks this guy literally swallowed
fire, which I thought was unbelievable. Toward the end there was also a show of
acrobatics with people doing an array of flips and a touch of capoeira added. Capoeira
is a form of Brazilian martial arts that is also used as a dance. The ballet had
all these different acts performed within an hour to make for an exhilarating show.
Do not let the word ballet mislead you. This “ballet” was one of the most
exciting and acrobatic displays of the African influence in Brazil. The costumes,
singing, dancing and musicians were a pleasant surprise from what we believed the
balet to be. One man who particularly heated up the show was the fire-eating man.
The capoeira dancers at the end were the best we saw during the entire trip. The
dancers also incorporated the audience by having them clap, which made the performance
that much better.